(NC) There can be a lot of anxiety when it comes to moving a pet from one location to another, especially when surroundings are unfamiliar. That’s why it’s important to make sure the environment you’re bringing your new furry friend to eases them into their forever home.

To start, ensure everyone in your home is well aware and prepared for the arrival of your new family member. This includes laying out responsibilities and a care schedule – identify who is responsible for morning walks, cleaning the cat litter or evening mealtimes.

Identify a veterinarian close to home and the nearest 24-hour emergency animal hospital. Keep that information somewhere handy where the whole house can access it.

Next, head to your local pet store and buy anything your new pet will need. When it comes to choosing the right food, inquire with the shelter to get an understanding of what your pet is used to and purchase that to start. You can change their diet slowly in a few weeks when they’re settled in, as you want to avoid too many sudden changes during this transitional period.

“Ideally, you’re able to take your pet home just ahead of the weekend, or another time when you’ll have a couple of days off, to help settle them in,” says Dr. Amanda Landis-Hanna, DVM, senior manager of veterinary outreach at PetSmart Charities. “This is less important for cats as they like to explore on their own when they feel safe to do so, but it’s very important for dogs, especially puppies, who are looking to bond with you and get reassurance that everything is okay.”

Now you’re set to start life with your new best friend. During the first few weeks of getting settled, keep an eye on their behaviour and note anything that seems out of the ordinary. If you’re concerned about anything at all, bring them to your vet and have them checked out.

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